Mistakes of a 17-year-old rummy

When I was a 17-year-old kid, I would carry around a 10 oz. flask. It was a little metal flask made out of either tin or aluminum, and it was a key factor when I got into mischief or trouble.

Even though the material that made up the flask was trustworthy and light, the flask itself was not in any way unique or different, but what was inside was something timeless.

The content of the flask was always the same, almost a full mickey of Captain Morgan’s Original spiced rum with the last two shots gulped down quickly after maxing out the flask.

This was my drink, by name and by taste. I was a 17-year-old rummy, and if you asked anyone that rolled around with me in those years they would say the same thing.

Even though I’m not particularly proud of my mature taste for rum at such a young age, I don’t regret getting my thirst for it out of my system early. I know if I still consumed rum at the same speed and quantity today that I did five-years ago I would surely lose my job, fail all my classes and dash any positive prospects I had going for me into the dirt.

It was an interesting time to say the least.

When we were swilling rum, we didn’t give a damn about much. We would tear around St.Vital in whoever’s car was available — because I didn’t have a licence and neither did my rummy friends — paying the driver with sips of rum and smokes. However, unlike my friends, I could have gotten my drivers permit. For them it was out of the question for them — the reasons ranged from drug possession or grand theft auto — until they were 21. I never really could keep track and, despite all of this, we always had a ride ready upon request.

Those who haven’t sipped rum in the middle of a baseball field at a young age while waiting for a friend of a friend to come and scoop them up and take them to their next destination will never have the chance to experience the exhilaration and shapeless rebellion that comes with being part a group of underage rummies.

I remember one night in particular where we ran out of rum at about 9:30 p.m. We had bought a two-six for the three of us, but both the public and private stashes had run dry. I didn’t mind — I remember thinking and maybe even saying that I would be able to pay for a six-pack, but the others protested so I decided to stay quiet while they schemed furiously on the plan to score more rum.

After five minutes or so it was decided that one of us would walk into the liquor store and steal a bottle. I couldn’t believe it. I asked if they were serious but by the time I had even raised question, I noticed a clear gap in the group. One of us was gone.

We walked to where we were supposed to meet our friend. We all joked about how we would bolt in different directions if we saw a cop or a liquor commission employee, but all of us were truly nervous.

After a bit of walking and waiting, our friend returned empty handed. We could see him from a distance, coming towards us with no liquor in view, but it wasn’t until he got closer that we noticed the smirk on his face. As he walked towards us he lifted up his shirt and tight against his stomach, tucked into his pants, was a bottle of amber liquid. A bottle we knew so well, a bottle of rum.

Yah it was interesting all right. We didn’t give a damn about much.

Looking back now, I’m not surprised I got caught up in the business of stealing rum. I was a smart kid who got a solid kick out of rolling with guys who didn’t have much to lose. Now I know that it was just a mistake made by a stupid kid who stopped simply enjoying rum, but got involved with the rum lifestyle and those who live it. A mistake I now know not to make again.